A Review of Interventions to Recruit and Retain ICT Students

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Leo A. Siiman 1,* Margus Pedaste 1 Eno Tonisson 2 Raivo Sell 3 Tomi Jaakkola 4 Dimitris Alimisis 5

1. Institute of Education, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

2. Institute of Computer Science, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

3. Department of Mechatronics, Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia

4. Centre for Learning Research, University of Turku, Turku, Finland

5. European Lab for Educational Technology, Sparta, Greece

* Corresponding author.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5815/ijmecs.2014.03.06

Received: 5 Dec. 2013 / Revised: 23 Jan. 2014 / Accepted: 12 Feb. 2014 / Published: 8 Mar. 2014

Index Terms

Information and communications technology, ICT, computer science, recruitment, retention, pedagogy


This article reviews and analyses the educational research literature on interventions to increase the recruitment and retention of information and communications technology (ICT) students. The results show that three changes in computing pedagogy characterize successful interventions, and consequently offer promising ways to attract and prepare more people for careers in ICT. The most important selection criterion considered when choosing papers to review was that interventions had been tested in practice and their effectiveness measured. Interventions were arranged into two groups: recruitment and retention. Recruitment interventions described initiatives to motivate interest in computing among secondary schools students, whereas retention interventions described efforts to retain students in ICT majors at universities. The three pedagogical approaches that emerged from an analysis of the successful interventions were: (1) visual programming environments to teach introductory programming, (2) inquiry learning activities to engage students in computing, and (3) integration of interdisciplinary knowledge to attract students from diverse disciplines. This review draws attention to innovative teaching practices currently shaping computer science education. Wider adoption of these pedagogical strategies has the potential to significantly increase the number of qualified ICT professionals.

Cite This Paper

Leo A. Siiman, Margus Pedaste, Eno Tõnisson, Raivo Sell, Tomi Jaakkola, Dimitris Alimisis, "A Review of Interventions to Recruit and Retain ICT Students", International Journal of Modern Education and Computer Science (IJMECS), vol.6, no.3, pp.45-54, 2014. DOI: 10.5815/ijmecs.2014.03.06


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